In a bid to boost heritage tourism, Uttar Pradesh is working on restoring and repurposing the historical palaces and havelis into hospitality hubs. After all the necessary approvals secured, Uttar Pradesh Tourism has now thrown open tenders for private ownership of these properties across the state.
According to the Department of Tourism, Uttar Pradesh, the prospective adaptive re-uses under this initiative include the creation of hotels and resorts, museums, Shilpgram, exhibition centres, restaurants and banquets, cultural centres, wedding destinations, and more.
The listed properties and hotels, as per the official source, include Kothi Gulistan-e-Iram (Lucknow), Kothi Darshan Vilas (Lucknow), Kothi Roshan-ud-Daula (Lucknow), Chhatar Manzil (Lucknow), Chunar Fort (Mirzapur), Barsana Jal Mahal (Mathura), Shukla Talab (Kanpur Dehat), Tikait Rai Baradari (Kanpur City) and Barua Sagar Fort (Jhansi).
According to Prakhar Mishra, Director Tourism, Govt of UP, the official tender has not been floated yet.
When asked, he further stated that the renowned hospitality brands such as Leela, Oberoi, ITC, IHCL, and Lalit have already expressed their keen interest in the city projects.
As per the Lucknow Development Index, if these partnerships go well in the right direction, the city (Lucknow) could soon boast four 5-star heritage properties/hotels, mirroring the destinations like Jaipur and Udaipur.
This bodes well for Lucknow’s growing tourism sector which recorded a rise in total tourists numbering to 57,55,323 including 3401 Foreign visitors in 2022. In 2021, a total of 40,84,454 tourists visited the city, as per UP Tourism’s year-wise statistics. Simultaneously, the UP Tourism Department is also actively seeking partnerships with property owners interested in developing homestays. The process is now simplified, with interested parties being able to register by scanning a QR code. The registered homestay owners will be able to enjoy high visibility, increased revenue, and partnership facilities, covered under the larger UP Tourism Policy.
“We have floated ads and are collating information of those homeowners who are willing to convert their residences into homestay,” Mishra told ETTravelWorld.
He also hinted about the new homestay policy being rolled out soon, which proposes that the homestay owners will be financially incentivised if they register with Online Travel Agents. Registered homestays, he said, will be then publicised through UP Tourism’s social media platforms and website.
In his recent conversation with ETTravelWorld, Mishra had also informed about developing homestays in Varanasi, a city high on UP Tourism’s agenda, given its recent massive surge in tourist traffic. Last week, the UP Department of Tourism and Varanasi Development Authority, signed an MoU, in view of the development of tent city in Varanasi, along with bringing the water sports activities, and hot air balloon operations to the city.
He had also unveiled the plan to revamp old guest houses which were previously owned by the Irrigation Department. Under this scheme, these properties are set to be transferred to UP Tourism and subsequently handed over to private developers utilising the build-operate-transfer model.
Giving the recent update, Mishra said that there are six irrigation guest houses which are being taken up for readaptive usage.